By Julius Businge
CAA’s Manager for Public Affairs, Ignie Igunduura answers questions about the industry in relation to the grounding.
Could you update us on what is going on to ensure the grounded operators get back to the skies?
CAA is closely working with the operators to help them go through the recertification process. They are all on phase three; they are left with two phases to get back to the skies. We are not sure about the timeline but we hope it won’t take long.
You say that you did not fail the audit yet ICAO audits the regulator…?
The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Coordinated Validation Mission (ICVM) Audit was not on the regulator but on Uganda as a State. That means that the Auditors were interested in checking the Regulator (CAA) and the industry (which includes the air operators). Such Audits usually start with the Regulator and if the Regulator fails to satisfy the Auditors, they do not even proceed to Audit the industry.
Is it true that you have not officially written to Ndege Juu and Mission Aviation Fellowship asking them to re-apply for recertification, yet they remain grounded?
The operators mentioned above are not grounded. They have only been restricted to domestic flights as they go through the certification process for international operations if they are to carry on international operations.
Was the withdrawal of the AOC the only option for CAA following the audit?
Yes, it was the best option in the circumstances as that is what the regulations provide for.
How did CAA respond to the ICAO audit of 2008? It is said that the audit asked CAA to do certain things which you didn’t?
The 2008 Audit was the Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme (USOAP). ICAO conducts such audits on a regular basis and expects States to provide Corrective Action Plans (CAPs) in areas where weaknesses are observed. Indeed a Corrective Action Plan for Uganda was provided and has to a large extent been adhered to. This last Audit of June 2014 was validation of the extent of implementation of the Corrective Action Plan.
You say initial findings by auditors on CAA, were assessed as satisfactory and you earned an improvement of 10%. Which audit was this?
The 10% overall improvement alluded to is in comparison of the performance registered at the 2014 Audit in respect of the Universal Safety Oversight Audit undertaken by ICAO on Uganda in 2008.
You say the June, 2014 audit on CAA by ICAO results are not yet out. Why then did you take action on local operators before the results?
There are some findings which require immediate action without having to wait for the final report.
As CAA, what is your assessment of the regulatory environment for the sector in Uganda?
The Regulatory environment is okay. Guiding Regulations are in place and there is positive growth as a result of stringent measures exercised by the Regulator. Currently, CAA and the operators are engaged in positive engagement to ensure that the affected airlines resume operations sooner than later.
Who stands to benefit, lose in all this?
We all stand to benefit from safer and more efficient operations.
What is your message to the grounded operators?
In the spirit of the industry and country, we need positive engagement to provide our clients with a safe and efficient product.